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The Olympic Runway?

Did you know that today is the 120th anniversary of the first international Olympic Games held in the Modern era? (We’re sure you must have seen it on Google by now!) The Olympic Games are the mecca of all sporting events in the world. Sports persons and aficionados across the world are gearing up for Olympics 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But interestingly, they are not the only ones! The entire year leading up to the Games has been a busy time for the some of the leading international fashion designers.

You might be wondering about the connection between Olympics and leading designers. While till a few years ago high fashion sort of looked down upon fashion in sports, the line between the two is blurring fast and with good reason. For instance, did you know that London 2012 was touted as the most stylish Olympic Games ever? And that sports designing is now one of the hottest jobs in the market, especially for international brands?

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So, what better time to ramp up business than before the Olympic season? The Rio 2016 fever has firmly gripped the fashion world. British designer Stella McCartney has been roped in by Adidas for the second time to design the kit for British athletes at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as a collection of supporters’ apparel. Nike which is not only the official sponsor of Olympics 2016, but also for the USA athletics and Brazilian football teams, has been flirting with fashion for some time now.

At the Paris Fashion Week last year, French luxury brand Chloé created a buzz among fashion editors with its luxe tracksuit tops, an influence of Rio 2016. Lacoste, which is dressing up the French Olympic team, presented a spring/summer 2016 collection of zip-up polo shirts and over-sized jackets, inspired by athletes draped in their nation’s flags.

According to market research firm Euromonitor International, Olympic Games are an irresistible opportunity for brands to captivate consumers and generate brand awareness and consumer engagement. And Rio de Janeiro is the perfect platform to do that, with around 80 million Brazilians claiming to be actively engaged in one or more sports and approximately half of the population under 30 years of age.

The presence of leading design houses in the arena of sports goes in hand with the general trend of “athleisure” – converging of fashion and activewear, which has done very well in recent years. In an interview with New York Times, Nike CEO, Mark Parker said, “Fashion is moving to a place that is more overtly sports-based. I realized it when I was in New York a while ago and looking at the Louis Vuitton windows was surprised to see a shoe almost directly taken from a shoe I had developed in 1983. I was more flattered than anything else.” This trend is more than expected to continue in coming times. And the world is looking forward to the Olympic Runway in August 2016.

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